Struggling with Depression

I am taking a break from writing about fun stuff like failed relationships, RVing, reality TV and my hatred of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m going to discuss my life a bit and a one-time battle I had with what I figure is depression. I’m going to tell you what I believed triggered it, what happened while I was fully into it and what got me out of it.

I had a telephone discussion with an ex. Mistake because she blames me leaving her for the misery she finds herself in these days. In fact, she finds great pleasure in letting me know all the crap she’s been through is not a result of her refusal to work full time like us savages, but due to the lack of support I gave her. Ok. Normally that wouldn’t  bother me, but this session was different. She blamed me for her not having any children. She told me she wanted to have three children and now she’s too old to have any (she is).

That made me feel bad. Then I thought sticking around her essentially ended my family line. She didn’t say so, but getting pregnant would have been difficult for her. And the fact of the matter is if she truly wanted to have a kid, we would have. Bottom line, you generally start kids with intercourse, and we weren’t having it. At least not with each other.

Anyway, I thought more about it until I could barely do anything. I would go to work, come home and get right into bed. I would lay there and let these “waves of blue” crash into me. Only after talking to a friend did I realize what was happening. She suggested I go see a therapist, which I did not. I was barely functioning but hardly anyone knew.

What got me through it? My cats. I did not always like cats. In fact, I never wanted to be around them. My cats took care of me. One of our cats would curl up next to me while I was in the fetal position. He would sleep next to me and purr. Our other cat, the anti social one, soon became much more friendly. Before long, both of them would come upstairs, get next to me and purr while my life was going into the tank.

Thats why I’m going to cry like a baby when my cats go. I really really owe them.

What snapped me out? Nothing in particular except a desire to get out of the pity party. I did. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and start doing something.

Not everyone can do that. Hardly anyone can do that. It’s very hard. Depression is a mo—- f—-r. It can hurt you badly.

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The Lastros No More

main image

(Photo: Major League Baseball)

Last night, the Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series, just like Sports Illustrated predicted in June of 2014. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-1 in Game 7. They got over the hump, with Dallas Keuchel, Jason Verlander and Lance McCullers getting them nearly to the top of the mountain, and Charlie Morton pushing them all the way to the summit.

The Astros are not the “Lastros” anymore. Not only that, the Astros are not even close to done. Unlike so many teams designed to make a single championship run, the Astros are here long-term. Players like George Springer, Jose Altuve (the soon-to-be American League MVP) and Carlos Correa are an excellent — and now battle hardened — core of youth the Astros have accumulated. This is pretty much the same team that fell to Kansas City — another team thought to have been built to go the distance repeatedly — two years ago.

If you’ve been listening to media coverage of the 2017 World Series, you’d think the Astros had no shot of winning this series, even though they were the better team. Many broadcasters were showing their open bias towards the Dodgers. Now they are taking cheap shots at the Dodgers.

We at BSP actually like Clayton Kershaw; he’s a pretty cool cat. The thing that turned us off with this year’s addition of the Dodgers was watching this guy Joc Pederson circle the bases for several hours in the Dodgers 3-1 win in Game Six.

USP MLB: WORLD SERIES-HOUSTON ASTROS AT LOS ANGELE S BBN LAD HOU USA CA

(Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports)

Asshat. Any other team except the Yankees, Mets, Cubs or maybe the Angels the media would be saying what a pure jerk this guy is. But he’s on the Dodgers, ESPN’s home team. It’s PURE ENTHUSIASM. Moron.

I suggested to one of my colleagues that in the Good Old Days, the next batter would get 95 mph in the ribs. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Good Old Days, and being Game 6 in the World Series … in a game you’re still trying to win … you can’t start drilling guys.

The Astros appeared not to have a problem with it. “He was happy he hit a homer,” Astros second baseman Jose Altuve said. “I’d do the same thing.” But Altuve celebrated tonight despite going hitless. Mr. Tour of the Bases goes home tonight with no victory and no celebration. At least he has video of himself hitting a now-meaningless home run to comfort himself all winter.

To end this on a high note, we have Carlos Beltran, celebrating his first and only World Series championship after 20 major league seasons. Congratulations to Carlos and the Astros. Well done, gentlemen.

 

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Boondocking

Some of you know I have some property, some RAW land in South Texas. The land used to be pasture, until the owner died and his children took over. They weren’t interested in the property so they ended up selling it in relatively large plots from 10 to 14 acres.

Along comes BSP and purchases one of those plots. 

We’ve had it for several years, as that’s the location of our future dream home. In the meantime, we do some dry camping there. Meaning we have to carry our water and power to the property. 

What I’m going to write about tonight is RV power management in this situation. As you know, there are multiple methods of powering parts of our RV. We have a 30 amp system, which means we have:

120 volt power supply

120 volt AC system

12 volt battery

12 volt DC system

Power converter

The 120 volt power supply ordinarily comes from a pedestal in a RV park. We use a generator when we go RVing. We believe it is impossible to consistently dry camp in South Texas without a generator that supplies 23-30 amps, because you can’t run your A/C. However, the weather has cooled here so we can use our smaller generator. We needed our heater this past weekend. 

120 volt power supply runs fun stuff like your RV power outlets, some of your lighting, and your TV / stereo. It also charges, through use of your converter, your battery.  120volt generator  power can run your refrigerator and  water heater, but you typically don’t want to do that on a short stay.  I learned about the TV this morning when our little generator ran out of fuel. Doh!

The 12 volt DC supply is a necessity. 12 volt can run the more power intensive items on your trailer. Examples of these are the overhead ceiling lights, the refrigerator, heater & water heater. You can purchase a device called an inverter. The inverter allows you to convert 12 volt DC power to 120 volt AC power. We aren’t going to write much about that since we don’t yet have one.

The big thing I learned on this trip is you do not need to have your generator running all night! You can shut your generator off at night when the weather cools off. Your heater can run off the 12VDC. So, you can save on fuel and money. Side items I learned were the use of a 3000 watt power inverter is infintely  more desirable than a 2200 Watt generator, because we don’t have to swap them out dependent on the  weather. Another option is running two  2000 Watt generators in parallel. This can be costly”

The converter converts 120 VC to 12VDC so those parts of the vehicle  requiring 12 volts DC can still run.

The RV power system is really well thought out. It is quite versatile.

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Spare Kit: An Essential of RVing

We’ve been doing this RV thing for about 3 years now. I’ve learned there can be a situation you just didn’t account for. An example of this is when my wife and I went on a tour of the local area in Kerrville TX. When we came back, we tried to enter the travel trailer but couldn’t. Apparently the lock seized up and we couldn’t unlock it! 

It was no fun breaking into our own trailer. We learned how hard it is to break in while trying to avoid damaging the vehicle. When my wife got in, we still couldn’t unlock the door! Eventually she unscrewed the lock from the inside and we installed the spare door lock.

Wait a minute. The spare door lock?

You bet. I knew that lock was a piece o crap nearly from Day 1 so I bought a spare door lock via Amazon.com. I carried it in our bin o’ spares so we had it just in case. What is in our bin o’ spares? Here’s a partial list:

– 15’ sewage hose and connectors

– black water tank drop ins

– hand crank for leveling screws

– automatic battery float charger

– 25’ drinking water hose

– 1.5 volt solar panel

– rubber gloves

– spare fuses (15, 30 & 40amp) *

– clamps (no purpose yet, but available if needed)

– water regulator

* – new addition

There’s probably about $250 worth of stuff in there, but I’ve used almost all of it. In fact, the old spare sewage hose is the new sewage hose. You should be very selective in picking a sewage hose, because the last thing you want is a sewage hose that fails. For BSP’s RV, we now use Rhino sewage hoses I purchased on Amazon.com. I get nothing from Amazon.com for saying so but they generally have good prices. Walmart has good prices of course; I think I have everything in their RV section but sometimes they go out of stock.

Spare fuses. At this point, I realized I didn’t know the electrical system very well. I discovered this little fact when we stopped at Buffalo, Wyoming. Buffalo is a town in big letters on a map, but in truth it is tiny. We determined we would leave the vehicle hitched instead of disconnecting and reconnecting in 10 hours. So my wife tried to operate the slide out. It didn’t work. The battery gauge said the battery was totally discharged, which upset us since the battery was new. We had been driving all day so the battery should have been fully charged. I opened the spares kit, plugged up the battery charger and started charging the battery. I reconnected it then operated the slide out for a few seconds before it went dead again. I was exasperated, then I thought about the fuses. Was a fuse blown?

Yes. I pulled out the two 40 amp fuses, both were blown. I figured I needed 40 amp fuses so I asked the RV park manager. They didn’t sell 40 amp fuses but he told me about an O’Reilly Auto parts down the road. I was relieved. He then told me:

“They might close early. It’s a holiday (Labor Day).”

Uh oh. Remember I said Buffalo is tiny? 

Of course it was closed. It had closed at 6 pm and it was now 7:30 pm. So I went to the truck stop next door. They had no 40 amp fuses so I bought a 30 amp pack.  

I told my wife it was a long shot; I thought the 30 amp fuses would blow immediately but it was worth a try. I inserted the fuses and the RV immediately powered up. Success! And another addition to our spare kit. We will never travel without those fuses in our spare box.

A spare kit is an absolute necessity. Build a spare kit out of things you use which may fail, forget or even get stolen. I had a bumper cover, one of those plastic things fitting over the bumper opening, get stolen at an overnight stop Amarillo. I had made a spare from the original so I just slipped it on the next day before we left.

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The National Anthem and the Flag of the United States

First, I will say I fly the Flag of the United States at my home. Personally, I would always stand for the National Anthem. It’s not because I’m being forced to, it’s because I believe the Flag still stands for Freedom. To me, the Flag stands for the ideals of the United States and the rights which we supposedly to have. The Flag is a symbol of the people who fought for me to have those rights.

My beliefs are not everyone else’s, and I get that. There are lots of people who have had different experiences than I have. To them, the Flag of the United States could mean something else entirely.

When I see NFLers kneel for the presentation of the Flag and playing of the National Anthem, I’m ok with it. Why? Because it’s for something, a cause which they believe in.

I will tell you this: my great grandfather fought for this country in World War I. When he returned, he couldn’t vote in his state. For him, the Flag did not represent bitterness. It represented where we SHOULD be as a nation.

Forcing players to stand for the Anthem and the Colors is to me, counterproductive. It’s making someone pay respect to something they don’t really believe in. It’s fraudulent. When I say the Flag stands for our rights, forcing someone to pay it respect infringes upon those very same rights it stands for.

What next, team owners make players pray to their God(s) before games because it’s popular with fans? How about standing for the Confederate flag or a statue of Bob Lee? It’s not a huge stretch.

Roger Goodell, team owners or even the president cannot extinguish what someone believes in by forcing them into standing for the Colors, and the National Anthem. For me, I will always stand for the Flag, because it stands for exactly what those people are trying to impose: faux patriotism.

 

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A Word about Von Miller

Heard Andy Benoit talk on their podcast like J.J. Watt is one of the greatest defensive players ever. Honest to goodness, Watt is indeed a great player, but saying he’s one of the greatest ever is too soon. 

We at BSP don’t believe Watt is even the best defensive player right now. Neither is Khalil Mack, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Luke Kuechly is great but not the very best. BSP believes the greatest defensive player in the NFL, and of the decade, is Von Miller. It’s easy: Miller had his best games in the biggest games of his career. Miller can play the run, rush the passer and even cover. Von Miller is a true competitor. Von Miller holds a pass rush conference and invites the best pass rushers in the league, including players in his own division. That’s confidence.Von Miller is the guy that drives that entire Denver defense; the guy who makes them a terror to throw against. Without Miller, they are good but not one of the best defenses ever. Without Watt, Houston was one of the best defenses in the league and nearly took down New England in last year’s playoffs.

He’s the only player on that entire team that I can stand even a little bit. Give credit where credit is due.

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Houston Is A Problem

Are you seeing where Houston TX is being inundated by rain from Hurricane Harvey?

National Weather Service radar:

Having been through a number of these storms in different locales, I want to give some insight:

  1. Not everyone in Houston is getting inundated by floodwater: It’s the nation’s 4th largest city and it’s not going away. Most people there are going to be fine, the ones who are not are in truly dire circumstances. It’s not going to get better right away, in fact, it’s likely to get much worse.
  2. There’s no chance to evacuate the city at this point. The time for that is long past. People should have took off Thursday last week. We know evacuating Houston is much more difficult than anyone would have believed, and it was already believed to be damn near impossible. Besides, people who could leave would just pack up the car, hook up the RV and go to Dallas or San Antonio. As was the case in Rita, most persons capable of departing, left.
  3. Those people who have difficulty in departing are the ones in the greatest trouble.
  4. Texas does not believe in civic planning: If you buy a home here, you had best believe you are on your own. Things that many of us East Coasters took for granted don’t happen here. For example, storm drains. Since it doesn’t rain often here, Texas doesn’t plan for things like flooding, or for that matter, earthquakes. When they happen, it’s just viewed as the Will of God and something we will have to get over.
  5. There will be plenty of finger pointing: The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott encouraged residents of Houston to evacuate. The call to evacuate was before the rain got going. The Mayor and local officials recommended against leaving, and now they are looking like idiots. Many of you don’t know or remember this, but in 2005, Houston conducted the largest evacuation of an American city, in response to Hurricane Rita. That storm was nowhere close in severity as this Harvey disaster, but was coming on the heels of the Katrina catastrophe.
  6. San Antonio is the nation’s capital for disaster response: We are better equipped to handle this or any other disaster short of nuclear exchange than anyone else in the country. If you’re in the southern U.S., you’re coming here in response to your disaster. Our city’s response to the Katrina disaster is an example for all cities to emulate.  Anyway, for 48 hours, we believed we were going to suffer from a Harvey associated deluge. As usual, those weather forecasts were wrong. San Antonio is 150 miles inland. A flood here is big news because while we get local flooding, it’s nothing like a coastal city like Galveston or Houston (~ 25 miles from the coast) is going to see. Those include storm surge. San Antonio will get its storms, but it won’t go partially underwater like Houston is now.

Those things said, we are praying for our friends in Houston now. It is going to have some hard days ahead.

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One Good Team, One Bad Team and Regression

Watched some preseason football this past weekend. Saw a couple of teams that jumped out to me. One’s going to be a good team, one’s going to be bad. One team’s going to slip a bit,

No real surprise here, but Seattle’s going to contend for a Super Bowl. Their defense jumps off the screen, even when watching their backups. Their offense Is respectable, and their special teams are back to being special teams. What’s more, rumors of dissention in their locker room seem to be overblown; at least as of this time. They are going to be a tough out for whomever they meet in the playoffs. Did I mention Michael Bennett, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman rank as legitimate Hall of Fame candidates? 

The team I think is going to be bad is the Los Angeles Chargers. I don’t think Anthony Lynn is going to have much success there. Remember when Lynn prevented Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates from attending Tomlinson’s Hall of Fame presentation? He wanted him to be there for his first practice in Los Angeles. When you’re looking at veterans like Phillip Rivers — your best and most important player —  and treating him as if he’s a rookie, you’re headed for trouble. I can’t see a team responding well when you can’t show respect for your veterans right off the bat. Bringing in players like Cardale Jones and giving them roster spots won’t help. He’s a project? He was a project at Ohio State. He also said he was going to Ohio State to play football. At what point does a player get the sport?

I’m watching the Oakland Raiders. A lot of folks are predicting them to go deep into the playoffs. I’m seeing the defense as terrible and not getting good enough to get them to the Super Bowl. I’m watching their draft picks, acquisitions and seeing their efforts to build a Seahawks Jr defense. It’s absurd and it’s failing just like it should. Last night, they made Jared Goff look like a superstar. Like we wrote earlier, Seattle has four potential Hall of Famers on the defensive side of the ball. You can see the Seahawks have defensive players who love football. The Raiders are counting on guys like Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu. These guys went to the beginning of training camp in a struggle over contracts. You know, the pre-slotted contracts where everyone knows how much they are going to get paid. Melifonwu was for a time the only non-1st rounder left unsigned. Once signed, he immediately came up lame.

A lot of Raiders blogs talked about how good Melifonwu — a workout warrior — is going to be. The guy has barely practiced. Gareon Conley has not seen even the practice field since minicamp. The Raiders counted on those two big time. Despite them being my favorite team, I don’t see them as improved over last season, and they have an even more difficult schedule. 

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